Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the iconic new-wave rock band, The Cars, has passed away this weekend in New York at age 75 (though some sources say he was 70). Sadly, Ocasek was discovered unresponsive on Sunday afternoon at his Gramercy Park apartment and appeared to have died from natural causes,
With his seminal new wave band, The Cars, Ocasek shot to fame in 1978 with their self-titled hit album that featured the classic singles, “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed.”
The Cars | “Just What I Needed”
The pop culture icon reflected on his career with the band in an interview with Rolling Stone when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, saying:
“It’s certainly a wonderful feeling to be accepted by peers and you see the people that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who gets inducted, it’s a positive feeling that you get”
The Cars' debut album was an undeniably catchy slice of pop precision and global smash hit, that sold millions of copies around the world. The band backed up their grand entrance, releasing five more albums between 1978 and 1987, which masterfully wrapping lyrical gloom and heartbreak into tight, quirky and endlessly catchy synth-pop songs.
The Cars | “Shake It Up”
In 1984, the band were awarded coveted MTV’s coveted “Video of the Year” award for the single, “You Might Think” from their fifth studio album, 1984’s Heartbeat City, a modern pop masterpiece fuelled by a run of videos that all became MTV staples
The Cars | “You Might Think”
Ric Ocasek and Cars bassist, Ben Orr had been collaborators for several years before forming the Cars in 1976. With their sleek, mechanical mix of proto-punk, garage rock and bubblegum pop, the Cars were one of the most successful American new wave band of the late '70s and early '80s. With enough rock & roll attitude to cross over, the band racked up a string of platinum albums and Top 40 singles that cleared a path for new wave to follow.
The musician and producer also released a series of solo albums after The Cars disbanded in the late 80s and produced a number of albums by other artists, including Weezer, Bad Brains, Guided By Voices, No Doubt, the Cribs, Bad Religion and more.
Ric Ocasek was a pop culture fixture well beyond music who will be sadly missed by fans and peers alike. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time Celebrate his extraordinary legacy with This Is The Cars on Spotify:
Listen to all The Cars Essentials on Apple Music: